It’s The State Farm Center, But It’ll Always Be ‘The Hall’

Today’s column from CBS Chicago

(CBS) The Assembly Hall means a lot to me.

As a kid, it’s where my dad and I watched the Harlem Globetrotters dribble circles around the Washington Generals. And as a youth, it’s where my mom and I saw the cast of Les Misérables bring down the house.

As a teen, it’s where I cheered on my high school’s basketball team during remarkable back-to-back runs to the Elite Eight. And as a college student, it’s where I donned a cap and gown for my commencement from the University of Illinois.

Throughout my entire life, Assembly Hall has also been the site of countless Illini basketball memories shared with both friends and family. So, while I’m thrilled to see the 50-year-old arena is getting a much-needed injection of cash that should preserve it for another 50, I’m also melancholy about seeing its longtime name relegated to the history books.

“It now has a name rather than a description,” University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise said on Monday during the announcement that as part of $60 million, 30-year naming rights deal the venerable Assembly Hall will now be known as the State Farm Center – starting immediately.

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